From: Terry Pinnell
Subject: Re: OT... Nature at work
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 20:23:22 +0000
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 20:23:40 +0000 (UTC)
X-Newsreader: Forte Agent 1.92/32.572
Jonathan Kirwan wrote:
>On Mon, 25 Nov 2002 15:46:14 +0000, John Woodgate
>>I read in sci.electronics.design that Bill Sloman
>>wrote (in ) about 'OT...
>>Nature at work', on Mon, 25 Nov 2002:
>>>Now he's a man I'd liked to have used as a role model - I got the Ph.D. in
>>>Chemisty, but I didn't write and sell the science fiction at the same time
>>>.... just read loads of it (and still do).
>>There was barely enough room on this planet for Isaac and Arthur C
>>Clarke, not to mention all the others. One more would have certainly
>>exceeded critical mass. (;-)
>There isn't room for Isaac Asimov and any other writer, period.
>I think he is, if not the most prolific writer in all of
>history, then at least he's in 2nd place.
Apparently not. I've pasted a relevant (but very long) thread below.
Hobbyist, West Sussex, UK
The 1989 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records has this to
# Most Prolific Writers
# After receiving a probably 743 rejection slips, the British
# John Creasey (1908-73), under his own name and 25 noms de plume,
# had 564 books totaling more than 40 million words published from
# 1932 to his death on June 9, 1973.
# The writer with the longest series of books is Margaret Farrar,
# whose series of crossword puzzle books first published April 10,
# 1924, reached a total of 133 by the time of her death in June 1984.
Obviously June is a bad month for prolific writers. :-)
I was surprised to find the above, not only because I thought I
remembered seeing the "over 700" number somewhere myself, but because
I remembered Guinness mentioning other authors here. So I checked my
1984 edition Guinness. (Doesn't everyone have several old copies?)
And *it* says:
The most prolific writer for whom a word count has been published
was Charles Hamilton, alias Frank Richards (1875-1961), the
Englishman who created Billy Bunter. At his height in 1908 he wrote
the whole of the boys' comics "Gem" (founded 1907) and "Magnet"
(1908-40) and most of two others, totalling 80,000 words a week.
His lifetime output has been put at 100,000,000 words. He enjoyed
the advantages of the use of electric light rather than candlelight
and of being unmarried. The champion of the goose quill era was
Josef Ignacy Kraszewski (1812-87) of Poland who produced more than
600 volumes of novels and historical works. Soho Tokutomi
(1863-1957) wrote the history "Kinsei Nippon Kokuminshi" in 100
volumes of 429,425 pages and 19,452,952 letters in 35 years.
The greatest number of novels published by any author is 904 by
Kathleen Lindsay (Mrs. Mary Faulkner) (1903-73) of Somerset West,
Cape Province, South Africa. She wrote under six pen names, two of
them masculine. The most prolific living novelist is Lauran Paine
of California, who has had 876 published under 74 pen names.
The Creasey information is then given exactly as above, except that it
says "13 noms de plume". This makes me wonder if the count of 564
novels actually included only those published under the 14 names that
Creasey was first known to have used; the change from 13 to 25
pseudonyms would seem to make the count of volumes suspicious.
And I *really* wonder why Creasey, rather than some of the other
authors mentioned in the 1984 edition, was retained as the sole author
mentioned under the "Most Prolific" heading in the later one!
Elsewhere, the 1984 edition also notes:
John Creasey is the fastest novelist. Not only did he write 22 novels
in one year and 564 in 42 years, but he once wrote 2 books in one week
with a half-day off.
[An essay about him] says:
+ No discussion of pseudonyms used for reasons of output is complete
+ without mention of John Creasey, whose loyal readers are hard put
+ to keep up with his books (over 600 of them!) and his aliases. He
+ used twenty-six, varying them from sleuth to sleuth.
Oh yes, Barbara Cartland. The 1989 Guinness says:
# Top-Selling Authors
# Currently the top-selling authoress is Barbara Cartland with global
# sales of over 500 million copies for 470 titles in 24 languages.
# She has averaged 23 titles per year for the last decade. ...
I should also mention Isaac Asimov. He remarked in one of his essays
somewhere that while he may have been exceeded in output by such
authors as Creasey -- not to mention Robert Silverberg -- he figures
he may hold a record for having written so many books in so many
different subject areas -- obviously this is hard to quantify -- and
for having hardly ever* used a pseudonym despite his large output.
(But is this true of Barbara Cartland also? I don't read her.)
Recent dust jackets credit Asimov with "over 400" books, but this
includes anthologies that he edited.
Mark Brader "There are three rules for writing the novel.
SoftQuad Inc., Toronto Unfortunately no one knows what they
utzoo!sq!msb, email@example.com -- Maugham
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